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Friday, December 2, 2016

Tuesdays with Judith, Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Iron Bowl, Blog Linkage, Facebook Stuff (Christmas Attractions Everyone in Alabama Needs to Visit), Pinterest Stuff (Acts of Kindness AND Celebrate Advent)

Good Friday morn!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Tuesdays with Judith - Mike took a few hours off a couple of Tuesdays ago, and we took Miss Judith to Moncrief Park. This is the same park I took her Daddy to many moons ago, but there have been some really cool additions since way back when.


I am loving this swing for two.

So fun.

So easy.


We got her to stop swinging long enough to crawl through a few tunnels on her way to a slide.


And while the slide was fun...


It just wasn't a swing!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Thanksgiving Thursday - We had two Thanksgivings this year. Thanksgiving Thursday was spent in Oxford with Mikie's side of the family.


Mackenzie and Micah were present in their festive Thanksgiving garb.

Oh, how I miss the days when my kids proudly wore clothes with various and sundry woodland animals stamped upon them.

Heavy, heavy sigh.


Hide-and-Go-Seek turned into a game of tag.

Just so you know, Roxie won.


Micah rocking the curls.


Austin and Melia.

This time next year, the turkey clothing in my family is going to be all over the place!


Micah after the game of tag.

Don't worry.

We didn't run him until he broke out in a sweat.

The kid had a little spillage from his water bottle.

RANDOMNESS #3 - On the way home from Thanksgiving, we spotted an old barn...

And, as luck would have it...

There was a red tree growing beside it!


You know what that means, don't you?


Photo op!


I am thankful for old gray barns and red trees.

Oh, yes, I am!

RANDOMNESS #4 - Black Friday - As is our tradition, we went shopping at The Galleria for Black Friday, BUT instead of spending the night at The Wynfrey, we shopped, saw a movie, ate at Steak 'n Shake...




And spent the night at Amy and Monica's so we could watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

I am happy to say, we made it through two of the four episodes.

So, so good!

RANDONMNESS #5 - Iron Bowl - The next morning, Roxie and I got up a wee bit early and headed home because SOME people were going to the Iron Bowl.


That's right.

These guys went to the Iron Bowl.


It would appear Mike and Josh didn't get the memo about the mandatory "silly" pose for the second photo.


It would also appear that taking a hard-core Alabama fan to the Iron Bowl with a bunch of hard-core Auburn fans might not end well.

It might not end well AT ALL!

RANDOMNESS #6 - THIS WAS FIRST POSTED IN 2009 - Do you ever listen to the John Croyle commercials... You know, from the Big Oak Ranch? They have had a commercial during the holiday season that really made me think. I'll have to paraphrase a little bit. Mr. Croyle asks the question, "What do your kids see as the most important thing in your life?"

Then he tells a story of a little boy who was asked that question about his Dad, and he answered, "My Mom. My Daddy loves my Mom." John Croyle then goes on to say what a good job that Daddy has done showing his little boy the priorities of life... God, Family and then Others. When this set of priorities is out of order, so are our lives.

Well, I did a gutsy thing. I asked Josh.

"Not counting God, what do you see as the most important thing in my life?" He looked like a deer caught in headlights.

"Is this a trick question?"

"No. It is a simple question."

"Will I be punished if I answer wrong?"

"No. But, you will be punished if you don't answer SOON!"

He grinned and said, "Family."

"Did I get it right?" he asked, smirking.

"You did okay," I responded, breathing a sigh of relief. Now it was Roxie's turn.

"Not counting God, what do you see as the most important thing in my life?"

"Why do you want to know?" she countered.

"It's just a question. Answer, please."

"Is there more than one right answer?"

"I don't think you can get this wrong. It's just your opinion," I replied, starting to get very impatient.

"Will you be mad if I answer it wrong?"

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THESE KIDS?

"Okay. Okay. The answer is 'family.' Am I right?" Roxie asked with a smirk on her face, too!

I slipped her a $5 bill and told her not to tell her brother!

You may be asking, "Are you going to ask Austin when he gets home?" I don't think so. Right now, I'm pretty happy with the two out of three answers I received. I don't think I want to mess it up. He's liable to say "chocolate chip cookie dough," or "going to the movies," or something else upsetting. Too risky. Too, too risky!

Blog Linkage - If you have little ones, you will love www.plumfielddreams.com. I stumbled across this blog because of Pinterest Stuff. (Pinterest Stuff is where so many good things come from, isn't it?)

Although I don't actually live with young children, I will be visiting it often.

Facebook Stuff

Christmas Attractions Everyone in Alabama Needs to Visit

1. Birmingham - "ZooLight Safari" located at The Birmingham Zoo, features more than one million lights, festive snowfalls and holiday music. A variety of rides are also available for kids and kids-at-heart. The dates for this holiday event are December 9 through 11, 16 through 23 and 26 through 31, 2016 from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

2. Tuscumbia - Dickens Christmas, Y'all - On December 10, 2016, downtown Tuscumbia will take you back in time. The Sixth Annual "Dickens Christmas, Y'all" Festival is reminiscent of the Christmas classic "A Christmas Carol." It will feature carriage rides, music, vendors and more. You don't want to miss this holiday event.

3. Eufaula - Eufaula is best known for its historic antebellum homes. This year is its 11th annual "Christmas Tour of Homes," which will take place on December 3, 2016. You don't want to miss these beautifully decorated homes. They'll certainly put you in the holiday spirit. Tickets are $6.00 for one home and $30 for six homes.

4. Gadsden - "Christmas at the Falls," located at Gadsden's Noccalula Falls Park, features millions of lights and offers amazing views from the park's walking trails. In addition to light displays, several activities are also offered at this attraction, including cookie decorating and a petting zoo. This attraction starts on November 24, 2016 and ends on December 23, 2016. It'll run from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. each night.

5. Montgomery - On December 1, 2016, the Montgomery Zoo will be transformed into a winter wonderland complete with thousands of brightly-colored lights, festive decorations, carolers and so much more. This holiday event is the annual "Christmas Lights Festival," and it's enjoyed by all ages. The dates of this festival are as follows: December 1 through 4, 8 through 11 and 15 through 31, 2016. The time will be 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., nightly.

6. Theodore - This year marks the 21st edition of "Magic Christmas in Lights," which is located at Bellingrath Gardens and Home, in Theodore. This holiday attraction features more than 1,000 set pieces, approximately three million lights and 15 Christmas scenes. The Bellingrath Home has also been decorated and is available to tour for an extra fee. "Magic Christmas in Lights" will take place November 25 through December 31, 2016 (closed Christmas Day). It's open daily from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for children ages 5 to 12. Children 4 and under are free.

7. Mooresville - One of Alabama's most historic towns is so beautiful during the holiday season. It's main event is the "Holiday Home Tour and Progressive Dinner," which will take place on December 10, 2016 from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. During this event, guests will get to tour the 1840 Post office, the 1821 Stagecoach Tavern, the 1839 Brick Church and six beautifully decorated private homes. Tickets are $70 per person.

8. Huntsville - Two major holiday attractions in Huntsville are the "Galaxy of Lights," located at Huntsville Botanical Garden and the "Tinsel Trail," located at Big Spring International Park. The "Galaxy of Lights" features several animated light displays, and the dates for this attraction are November 24 through December 31, 2016. Huntsville Botanical Garden is located at 4747 Bob Wallace Ave, Huntsville, Alabama 35805. The "Tinsel Trail" is a beautiful display of live Christmas trees for the community to enjoy. These uniquely decorated Christmas trees are lit each night at dusk and turned off at midnight. Big Spring International Park is located at 200 Church St, Huntsville, Alabama 35801.

9. Wicksburg - The greatest thing about Wicksburg's "Holiday Spectacular Park" is that you'll get to experience more than 14 million lights. That's right. FOURTEEN MILLION LIGHTS! You'll also get to experience two fireworks shows. One will take place on Christmas Eve, whereas the other one will take place on New Year's Eve. Kids will love the whimsical Christmas scenes situated throughout the park. The dates for "Holiday Spectacular Park" are December 1 through 31, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. each night.

Pinterest Stuff

Acts of Kindness

1. Leave a thank you note and treats in the mailbox for the mail carrier.

2. Take cookies to the local assisted living or nursing home for the staff. 

3. Buy a $5 gift card at a store and hand it to someone coming in on you are leaving the store.

4. Leave a bottle of laundry soap or put quarters in the machines at the laundromat.

5. Tape a bag of quarters to a vending machine.

6. Leave a bottle of water and a snack or a magazine in the nursing rooms at the mall.

7. Leave a Ziploc bag with a travel pack of wipes and a few diapers on a public changing table. 

8. Tuck a few dollars around the toy section at the dollar store or in the various bins in the dollar section of Target.

9. Drop off a plate of cookies at the nurses' station at the hospital.

10. Make "Homeless Blessing Bags" with the kids and hand them out to the homeless you see while out shopping.

11. Tape a bag of microwave popcorn to a Redbox machine.

12. Put a dollar bill in a library book when returning it.

13. Drop off a plate of cookies at the public library, police station, fire station, etc. 

14. Leave a coloring book and a small box of crayons at the doctor's office.

Celebrate Advent

Choose Entertainment Wisely

There’s a lot of junk out there during the holidays. We enjoy the movies and the books and the music, but we try to do it with discernment. For example, we don’t listen to Christmas music on the radio, because most of it is now “holiday” music. We prioritize the specials that emphasize the redemption story we want to focus on. We still enjoy Home Alone and Elf, but if we had to narrow it down to one Christmas special for our family, it would star Charlie Brown. I try to always consider are we deciding what we consume, or are we just absorbing whatever is pushed on us?

Serve Others

Serve our family, serve our friends and neighbors... always look for ways to serve. This can be different for every family. This year it will mean making and delivering gifts to all of our neighbors. As the littles grow older, we will add opportunities to serve. Sometimes we have to search out the service opportunity, but many will present themselves to us if we are looking. This is a great way to teach the kids to focus on others.

Read Luke 2

This is it. This is the point. Focus on it. Celebrate it. Our kids are still too young to read, but as they grow, we will let each read the Christmas story as they learn to read. It will be a privilege passed around from year to year.

Explain Everything

All of the previous ideas do little good unless we take the time to explain the reasoning. As we move through life together, I try to keep up a monologue (which is turning into a dialogue as my oldest masters more words) about what we are doing and why we are doing it. In simple terms, I explain why the song we’re listening to is wonderful, why the second chapter of Luke is our favorite story to read at Christmas and why we are making gifts for our neighbors. If I want them to absorb it, I have to be intentional about making it real to them. We frame everything we are choosing as fun, and while we’re having fun we take the time to explain why we love it.

I hope you and yours enjoy the first weekend of December. Try to do at least one Christmasy thing each and every day of the month... and choose wisely what that "thing" will be!

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

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